The city building simulation “Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic” suddenly disappeared from Steam four years after its release. The developers had messed it up with a fan who is now doing everything to take revenge on the development team. The amazing thing is that he was successful. Apparently he’s a lawyer and the developers are having trouble defending themselves against him and his copyright strikes.
What kind of game is this?
- The strategy game is a total niche game: It recreates city planning in Eastern Europe at the time of planned economy and communism. The developers like to refer to themselves as “The Party” or “The Republic” – their players are of course “Comrades”, comrades.
- The game has been playable on Steam since March 2019. It comes from developer and publisher 3Division
- It costs about €15.39. At its peak, the game had 3,891 players.
You can watch the trailer with a lot of communist flair here:
“We have the 1st enemy of the Soviet Republic”
That’s what the developers say: In a post on Steam, the developers explain that their game was removed from Steam due to a copyright complaint, and is currently no longer available for purchase on Steam (via steamcommunity):
- A fan of the game who wrote a guide to “Cosmonaut Mode” claims to own the rights to “Realistic Mode”.
- The developers refer to the player as “the first enemy of the Soviet Republic” and say he was once a respected member of the community and “the party” but has now chosen to betray the republic, party and ideas.
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Fighting over whose name appears in the credits
What is the conflict? The developers have started work on the “Realistic mode”, which the fan claims. Apparently he really wanted to be credited for the game.
The developers also intend to do so and suggested crediting him and other players who created guides and were particularly helpful in the credits – but only after they finished the game.
The developers say: The player then became aggressive, hired a lawyer and began exploiting the DMCA system on YouTube to hit a key influencer of the game with copyright strikes
The conflict escalated and the developers eliminated the “Enemy of the Republic”, also changing the name of a challenge that the player “invented”:
We got angry at him for choosing to use blackmail and abuse and decided never to mention the name of the challenge he allegedly invented again and to ignore it.
The player is apparently a lawyer, looking for a conflict with developers
This is how the situation escalated: The player took it up a notch, reported the developer’s website, had a video taken offline, and ultimately the game from Steam.
As the developer Peter Adamcik told the US side kotaku said the situation was “very disturbing” for her.
The user apparently has knowledge of the legal system and believes that he can enforce his supposed rights in this way. He abuses his role as a lawyer because he thinks he can fight a court case cheaper than the developers:
“He thinks he can get anything he wants from us because we’re not going into an expensive legal battle. But legally he has no ground to stand on so we’ll probably fight to the end.”
The developer believes the fan is taking a huge risk, their reputation and finances could suffer, and what they’re doing isn’t ethical either.
There is a faint threat when the developer says that if the game remains banned from Steam, there will be significant financial damage for the team and for Valve.
The developer also says: Another very sad aspect of the case is that the “DMCA” system just doesn’t work. Anyone can address anything for themselves and the service provider is forced to remove the content.
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